A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Friday, March 11, 2011

Flickr Removes State Security Officers' Photos

The set of photos and information on Egyptian State Security officers that were posted to Flickr after the fall of the Nasr City State Security headquarters, Hossam al-Hamalawy, who blogs as 3arabawy,
and who had posted them to Flickr, has been forced to take it down by Flickr for "copyright infringement." Many Egyptian activists are already calling for a boycott of Flickr. (One note for some of those tweeting on this: Flickr is owned by Yahoo, not by Google as some of you seem to think; Google owns YouTube, so don't boycott Google.)

Remember the Streisand Effect, the Internet rule that says that the surest way to get information spread widely across the Internet is to try to censor it? I'm sure they're going to reappear and wish I'd downloaded copies; will post the links when they reappear. This may be a job for Wikileaks.

But I'm sure, they'll be back. [UPDATE: They may go up on Facebook, and he is reportedly getting help from the "Anonymous" people.]

1 comment:

AnonymousHoward said...

Makes me wonder if one of the state security officers filed a DMCA complaint. Or did Flickr just decide they know better who holds the copyright? I suppose as state employees, pictures taken by officers as part of their job are likely to be owned by the Egyptian Government. In a revolutionary situation like this, who has the authority to assert copyright? And, if Egyptian copyright law is similar to US, wouldn't that put them in the public domain?

Not that I really think there's a response to Flickr in terms of who holds these rights, but just that it's an indication of how web companies use intellectual property violations as a blanket excuse for blocking content.